PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A Palm Beach County student dealing with an unimaginable illness got a break to visit her classmates on Thursday.
The annual Walk-A-Thon at Golden Grove Elementary School started the same as every other year, until 9-year-old Kiki Smith made a very special appearance.
Kiki couldn’t start fourth grade with her friends this year. After a series of medical issues and tests, she was diagnosed with brain cancer.
"It was heart wrenching to say the least. I really didn’t have words," said Jennifer Smith, Kiki's mom.
The whole family spent the past few months at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Tennessee. Kiki’s mom and sister shaved their heads to stand together with their little hero.
"She is a spunky one, she tries hard," said Smith. "She doesn’t give up, that's for sure."
Kiki is now on a five-week break from treatment, so she and her family had time to visit Golden Grove on one of her favorite days of the year.
"They missed me," said Kiki.
On Thursday, Kiki walked with her classmates like nothing had changed. The school sent Kiki a gator shirt at the hospital, and collected $1,400 for her family.
"Overwhelmed. My heart is full," said Smith.
As the Smith family continues to walk through this journey, they know they have a whole school behind them.
"Words will never be enough to thank our gator family," said Smith.
Kiki will head back to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in November for four more rounds of chemotherapy. Her mom hopes they’ll be home for good next spring, and they’ll certainly be back to visit her friends at school.
A gofundme campaign has been set up for Kiki.